HST Cycle 29 Grant Funding and Budget Submissions


This section is intended to be an overview of the budget proposal and funding policies process for STScI grants. Contact STScI Grants Administration with questions concerning funding policies, budget submissions, allowable costs, or grant activities.

Phone: (410) 338-4200
email: gms_mail@stsci.edu

Budget Proposal Deadline

Budget proposals are due: August 12, 2021 at 8:00pm EDT. Late proposals will not be considered.

Budget proposals are submitted via STGMS (https://stgms.stsci.edu). Contact the Sponsored Research Office at your institution if you need an STGMS account.

STScI General Grant Provisions

STScI grants will be awarded in accordance with the GGP 2018 and the terms of this Call for Proposals, that are incorporated into and are considered to be part of the GGP 2018.

Eligibility for STScI Grant Funds

Important: Carefully review the GGP 2018, Section 3, Eligibility for STScI Grant Funding, for specific eligibility requirements. Contact STScI Grants Administration if you have any questions regarding requirements or to determine if a person is eligible to request STScI grant funding.

Certifications, Assurances, and Representations

Budgets submitted to STScI or the acceptance of an STScI grant award represents the recipient institution's Authorizing Official or Authorizing Official Representative certification of compliance with the GGP 2018, its appended regulatory certifications, assurances, and representations, and the Budget Submission Certifications in STGMS.

STScI Review of Risk Posed by Applicants

STScI has an obligation and the authority to ensure that recipient institutions are eligible to receive federal awards and meet the requirements related to the award of federal funds. See GGP 2018, Section 7 for criteria considered in STScI’s evaluation of risk posed by applicants.

Budget Proposals

The budget is a detailed financial expression of the project or program and it shall be related to performance for program evaluation purposes whenever appropriate. GO/AR budget proposals are reviewed in detail and evaluated by the STScI Financial Review Committee (FRC) to assess funding that is appropriate to reduce and analyze HST data in conjunction with the work in the approved Phase I proposal. 

The responsibility of a complete, accurate proposal rests with each investigator and their institution. It is important to include clear, detailed, and complete information in your budget, budget narrative, and management plan. Missing or incomplete information may result in a reduction of funding allocated to the program.

Reasonable, Allowable, Allocable

Costs to complete the science goals submitted in the approved Phase I proposal must be reasonable, allowable, and allocable (Ref. GGP 2018, Sections 9-12). Costs outside the original scope of work will not be considered during budget reviews. This includes costs for work not discussed in the approved Phase I proposal or an extension of work based on TAC comments. If proposers request funding support for effort and activities related to ground-based observations or analysis of ground-based observations, those observations must be clearly and scientifically justified in the Phase I proposal.

Funding will not be provided to support Phase II preparation activities.

Grant Administrative PI

Each budget must have an Administrative PI who will have overall fiscal and reporting responsibility for the grant proposal and subsequent award. Grant awards are issued to the proposing institution at which the Administrative PI is employed and not to the PI personally (Ref. GGP 2018, Section 4).

Budget Timeline and Period of Performance

It is anticipated that the amount of time required to complete the HST project will be one to two years depending on the type and complexity of the project. Key, long-term, and other major projects may range up to three years.

The “from and to” period in the budget should reflect the amount of time it will take to reduce, analyze, and publish the data, and correspond with the fiscal year in which the work will be performed. This is an estimated timeframe and does not determine when funding will be awarded. The period of performance will be stated in the Grant Award Document.

Continuation Programs

Approved GO Continuation programs will have orbits scheduled in more than one cycle. Continuation programs do not require a new Phase I proposal for each cycle. Phase II and budget proposals only, are required for each subsequent cycle of the program. Budgets submitted for the first cycle of a continuation proposal will include costs for the effort to reduce and analyze the data obtained in the first cycle only. Costs for subsequent cycles will be automatically removed by the Financial Review Committee (FRC). Budget narratives will include a description of the overall effort for the entire multi-year project. A justification with specific, detailed information to support each line item cost in the budget submission for year one is required.

Funding For Joint Programs

Funding requests submitted to STScI for joint programs should support only the HST portion of the project. Funding for the analysis of data from other observatories should be provided through their budget process. See those websites for more information. If a request is submitted to STScI to support the analysis of data from other than HST, a detailed justification of why the work is crucial to understanding the HST project is required. Clearly describe and differentiate the labor effort for each program in the budget narrative.

Program Management Plans

Management Plans, including a timeline, are required with the budget proposal submission for all General Observer proposals. The FRC reviews the Management Plans to determine if the costs requested are commensurate with the level of effort required to complete the project. The FRC cannot accurately assess budget proposals for programs that do not meet the requirements. Detailed information is provided in the Budget Requirements document located on the STScI Grants Administration Webpage, http://www.stsci.edu/scientific-community/grants-administration.

Program Management Plans should include the following information:

  • An organized, integrated plan that uses a systematic approach for data reduction and analysis.
  • A description of the program manager’s responsibilities and how the person will provide strong, cohesive leadership and oversight.

The plan should also include:

  • An outline of the project’s goals and objectives.
  • A quantitative list of actions or tasks required to achieve the goals and objectives of the project.
  • Descriptions of the tasks/roles and time commitments of funded and non-funded personnel (name where possible).  Who is doing what and will any of those roles change throughout the project?  If yes, explain.
  • Clearly identify the responsibilities of U.S. and foreign investigators.  Budgets for U.S. investigators should be within the scope of the labor proposed for those investigators.  Foreign teams must contribute a proportionate amount to the project (including publications).
  • An organizational chart.
  • Describe any ramp up activities or preparation of ancillary data.
  • Describe the value of any redundant effort.
  • Describe how the expertise of the team members will be leveraged.
  • A schedule with timelines, project milestones, and goals.
  • A list of deliverables.
  • What tools (if any) will be developed?
  • Explain how the team plans to collaborate/communicate.

Priorities of the Financial Review Committee

The FRC reviews budget proposals based on the tasks, level of effort, and other costs required to complete the project. Budgets are evaluated based on the work proposed in Phase I and funding will not be provided for efforts outside of the original scope of work or for increased effort based on comments provided by the TAC. Key questions to assist proposers with preparing budgets and narratives:

Proposers should ask themselves these key questions before submitting a proposal:

  • Are the responsibilities, contributions, and level of effort for each team member (including foreign and unfunded) clearly stated, justified, proportional (directly linked), and in conjunction with their role in the project and the approved Phase I proposal? Note that only tasks that are specifically identified or absolutely necessary for the Phase 1 science will be considered.
  • Do team members have overlapping tasks? Note that team members should have separate tasks.
  • Is the budget justification correct and consistent with the budget request?
  • Are costs in the budget included in the budget narrative? Conversely, are all costs described in the budget narrative included in the budget?
  • Is the travel requested really required for the project? Provide the specific reason project personnel must travel to specific conferences. Avoid generic TBD conferences whenever possible. Are higher costs for travel (i.e. international travel or attendance of multiple team members) well justified?
  • Are the computers (laptops, desktops) and computing costs requested required for the project and well justified in the budget narrative?
  • Are the publication costs commensurate with the level of the project? Be sure to justify an unusually high number of pages or publications.
  • Are unusual or particularly high costs well justified?
  • Is the contribution of all foreign team members described in the budget narrative? Is it very clear that foreign team members are contributing their appropriate share of the costs (e.g., labor, travel, and publications)?

Budget Review and Approval Process

Following the notification of approved Phase I programs, the STScI Grants Administration Office will send instructions for budget preparation and submission to U.S. investigators. Budget requests are reviewed by the STScI Financial Review Committee (FRC) and funding recommendations are presented to the STScI Director for approval.

Availability of Funds

All grant awards are made contingent upon the availability of funds from NASA.

If funding requests and FRC recommendations exceed the amount provided by NASA for the HST GO/AR Grants Program, additional reductions to recommended amounts may be required to remain within the funding guideline authorized by NASA.

STScI Authority

Allowable costs for all budgets, awards, and expenditures will be determined in accordance with the GGP 2018, the Cycle 28 Call for Proposals, and the applicable institutional, NASA, and federal guidelines, policies, and regulations. STScI has the final authority to determine whether or not a cost is allowable for an STScI grant and reserves the right to recover grant funds that were unexpended or were spent out of compliance with the terms and conditions of a grant.

Next: HST Cycle 29 Appendix A: Contact Information